Who was Dr. Maria Montessori?
Dr. Maria Montessori was Italy’s first woman physician. Through her scientific and medical work, she became interested in the development of the child. In 1907 Dr. Montessori established the first Children’s House in Rome. She then dedicated her life to creating an educational method based on the scientific observation of children and their developmental needs. She observed that children are happiest and most satisfied when they are concentrating on tasks that help to fulfill their inner drive toward independence. One of her most profound realizations is the idea that children learn through doing: education is an active, all-encompassing process for children. And the educational environment must serve that need.
Dr. Montessori brought her radical notion of building an educational environment that reflects the child’s true needs to America in 1915 at the San Francisco Exposition. In later years she expanded her ideas to encompass infants, elementary, and teenage children. Throughout her life, Dr. Montessori worked tirelessly as an advocate for children. Her educational ideas and methods are in use all over the globe.
What is the Montessori Method?
The Montessori Method is a philosophy and system of education based on the child’s innate ability to develop and grow independently and at her own pace in a carefully prepared, non-competitive environment. Following his own developmental interests, the child manipulates and experiments with materials in the different subject areas, of the classroom. Social development takes place in a unique atmosphere of freedom and structure founded on respect.
What are sensitive periods?
Children experience critical learning periods at specific times during development. Dr. Montessori called these critical openings “sensitive periods” and they are often called “windows of opportunity” by today’s educational psychologists. During these times, children display acute interest in specific kinds of activities and strive to acquire a specific set of skills and knowledge. Montessori environments are designed to offer activities that match the many different sensitive periods.
Who guides the children?
The teacher in the Montessori environment acts as a guide for the child. Through careful observation and assessment, the teacher leads each child toward educational, social and emotional goals. Children progress individually without limitations. All of the Lead Teachers at MCH hold Montessori teaching credentials.
The Montessori classroom
The Montessori classroom supports the learning of children within three-year age cycles. The multi-age classroom provides a myriad of enormous benefits to children, and is supported by the most current educational psychology.